AUSTIN (Texas) -- Thursday's lawsuit by the Biden administration relates to new voting rules in Texas. These new rules outlasted a season of protests by Democrats. They now face fading hopes of reforming the nation’s election laws as a result of a wave of restrictions placed on Republican-led states.
The suit does not seek to challenge the entire sweeping measure that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed in September. Greg Abbott, Texas' Republican Governor, signed a broad measure in September that would have impacted all of Texas's voting laws. The Justice Department claims that the provisions regarding mail-in voting and voter assistance violate federal civil rights. Instead, it filed a challenge in San Antonio federal court.
The Texas GOP has now brought two of its biggest conservative wins this year to court against the federal government. Meanwhile, the Justice Department is trying to stop a Texas law that has prohibited most abortions since September.
The new Georgia voting laws drew a lawsuit from the Biden administration this summer. This is because the Democratic base is urging the Biden administration to take more action on voting rights. It is a priority for the party ahead the 2022 midterm elections. The time is running out. Senate Republicans repeatedly blocked federal legislation to modify election laws , including another Wednesday.
Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that "our democracy depends on the rights of eligible voters to vote and have that ballot counted." "The Justice Department will continue using all its authorities to protect this foundational pillar of our society," Attorney General Merrick Garland stated.
The Texas law, known as Senate Bill 1 was already being sued by opponents. They accuse Republicans of trying to disenfranchise minorities or other Democratic-leaning voters.
Abbott and other Texas Republicans claim that the changes offer protection against voter fraud, which is very rare.
The new Texas law requires that anyone who assists voters in completing their ballots must now take a longer oath, which includes admitting a perjury penalty. The old language regarding answering voters' questions was removed, which opponents claim will cause harm to voters with disabilities.
Mail-in ballots must now contain a driver's licence number or the last four digits from a Social Security number. This, according to the Justice Department, increases the chance of ballots being rejected incorrectly and excludes some eligible voters.
The law bans drive-thru voting and 24-hour polling places. These are not challenged in the Justice Department's lawsuit.
After the Texas legislation was passed, Democrats began a series of walkouts. Republicans threatened them with arrest and Abbott vetoed the paychecks for thousands of rank-and file staffers. More than 50 Democratic legislators left Texas for Washington at one point. This brought the Texas Capitol to a halt for 38 days.
The Texas Democrats had hoped that the gambit would press Congress to pass new voting rights protections at federal level. However, those efforts have repeatedly failed. GOP senators view the Democratic voting bills against them as a "power grab."
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, Texas is one of at least 18 states which have passed new voting restrictions since 2020. These laws are part a nationwide GOP campaign in Florida, Georgia, and Arizona to tighten voting laws for security. This is partly due to former President Donald Trump's false claims about the theft of the election.
Trump called for Abbott to audit Texas' election results, even though he was the winner of the state. Last month, Abbott appoints a new chief for state elections, John Scott. Scott briefly joined Trump's legal team in 2016 when it challenged the 2020 results.Updated Date: 05 November 2021, 07:29